Developer: Sega AM1
Yippie Ki Yay, Mr. Falcon. In 1996, Sega unleashed Die Hard Arcade – an international joint effort from the minds of two of its better known development teams, Sega AM1 and Sega Technical Institute. As its name would strongly suggest, Die Hard Arcade is an arcade beat ’em up based on the Die Hard franchise. A solid early entry in the 3D brawler genre, Die Hard Arcade is as fondly remembered for its absurd blend of pro-wrestling moves and gunplay as it is for its wonderfully rectangular rendition of Bruce Willis’ head.
But, for some reason, in Japan, Die Hard Arcade wasn’t a licensed property. There, it was called Dynamite Deka, which translates roughly to “Dynamite Detective” or “Dynamite Cop.” It’s basically the same game, but all references to Die Hard have been removed, and John McClane is now “Bruno Delinger.” I have my guesses as to why they went with “Bruno.”
But this post isn’t about Die Hard Arcade. We’re here to talk about its sequel, Dynamite Cop. Which is kind of what Die Hard Arcade was called in Japan. And, if you want to get technical about it, in Japan, Dynamite Cop is known as Dynamite Deka 2. What we call Dynamite Cop is an English localization of the game basically called Dynamite Cop 2 in Japan. Have fun keeping that straight. But whatever – it’s the sequel to Die Hard Arcade, minus the Die Hard, but suspiciously high on the Willis factor.
Released to arcades in 1998, the game is perhaps best known for its 1999 Dreamcast port, which is what we’re covering here. Dynamite Cop’s plot is charmingly stupid – and I mean that in the least pejorative sense. Modern day pirates – and we don’t mean the actual terrifying Somalian kind –
– we mean a group of nautical themed lunatics with a skull shaped island fortress and an actual wooden pirate ship –
have kidnapped the president’s daughter. You have to rescue her. This is actually the plot of the first game, except on a boat. These are, in fact, the same bad guys from the first game. They’ve just decided to become pirates. Yep.
The player controls one of three Dynamite Cops – Bruno Delinger, the aforementioned McClane/Willis stand in and all-round baddass; Eddie Brown, a Navy Seal who seems to specialize in Muay Thai; and Jean Ivy, another Navy Seal who uses a weird mix of kung fu and pro wrestling.
Core gameplay is pretty straightforward. You’ve got three buttons – punch, kick, and jump – which can be combined with directional inputs to perform more advanced maneuvers. Truthfully, you only need the basic button combos to succeed, but if you start experimenting with more elaborate inputs (particularly after grappling with an opponent), you’ll find that the move list is surprisingly deep. On top of it, after picking up the glowing powerups that emerge most enemies, your character can get LUDICROUSLY violent. Observe:
But the real joy of Dynamite Cop comes from the weapons. You’re rarely more than a few moments from obtaining a gun, but why stop there? You can beat up your foes with…
And, my personal favorite, hand-launched anti-ship missiles!
I really only stopped listing weapons because I got tired of making gifs. Dynamite Cop’s full arsenal contains everything from shish-kebabs to laser guns. If the spectacle of violence can truly be silly, this is as silly as it gets.
That commitment to silliness and spectacle is really the only reason to play Dynamite Cop – but it’s a DAMN good reason. Dynamite Cop is merely a competent brawler, but it’s a competent brawler that’s got an arcade thrill ride standing proudly on its shoulders. This isn’t a game which wants you to master the intricacies of its move list, it’s a game that wants you yell “HELL YEAH” after you kick a dude in a shark costume in the nards 10 times and run over his buddy with a motorcycle. Because it adheres so fastidiously to its high-impact ethos of ridiculous violence, it’s difficult for me to consider Dynamite Cop anything other than an unqualified:
Dynamite Cop is short; a successful play-through only takes about an hour or less. That being said, each of its three routes are worth replaying multiple times, if for no other reason than to use every single absurd armament at your disposal. I give it a “YOU CAN THROW SLOT MACHINES AT A CRAB MAN” out of 10.
Special thanks to Mark Del Rossi, who was the best Player 2 this author could ever ask for. Even though he shot me with multiple hand thrown missiles.